L&D faces strong headwinds in 2023 but also opportunities to demonstrate business value.
Recession is the word nobody wants to say out loud, yet according to the IMF, one-third of the world economy will hit recession in 2023. This will also have a knock-on effect on countries that aren’t technically in an economic recession. It’s going to be a tough year.
Naturally, this downturn will have a major impact on learning and development. Budgets are likely to come under increasing scrutiny as business leaders demand proof that L&D delivers value in a challenging environment.
Demonstrating the business value of L&D
The good news is that such value can be demonstrated, more so now than at any time in the past. Learning leaders will need to be prepared for some tough questions and demands from the C-suite, but harsh business conditions can be positive for L&D’s role within any organisation.
Recession is a catalyst. It forces organisations to make difficult decisions, including decisions that they may have been delaying. Some businesses won’t survive a recession but those that do will emerge leaner, fitter and better adapted to the needs of their markets. L&D can play a vital role in such business transformation in 2023.
In order to promote a healthy, business-focused culture of continuous learning, performance and innovation, an organisation needs to recognise learning and professional development as the business-critical function it is. Learning needs to move from being a ‘cost centre’ to being a ‘valuable business performance investment’.
To achieve this, learning leaders and HR departments must demonstrate measurable ROI from L&D. The timing for this is right, since we are now in an era in which rich learner data is finally available.
Thanks to new learning technology, it is now possible to drill down into learner data and truly quantify staff knowledge and competence, as well as learner self-awareness and learning gaps.This gives HR departments the information and data they require, next to key performance analytics, in order to tailor staff training to the changing requirements and challenges of the organisation.
This transition is already underway. According to the LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report 2022, 72% of learning leaders agree that L&D has become a more strategic function in their organization.
Improving efficiency through AI and consolidation
Better technology, in particular, AI, is going to be increasingly centre-stage in 2023. Until recently, AI was something of a ‘black box’ run by a small group of experts, to which organisations would outsource their AI needs. This is changing fast. AI is becoming more accessible to everyone and the front-end interfaces are improving dramatically. If an organisation isn’t already using AI in its L&D strategy, that will change in 2023. No organisation can afford to be left behind as AI transforms L&D by analysing employee competence, identifying learning gaps and tailoring individual learning pathways.
This two-pronged approach – using technology to improve efficiency plus having better data to show how and where improvements are being made – represents a powerful strategy for L&D in 2023.
Purchasing decisions will also have to adapt to harsher business conditions in 2023. We’re likely to see a move away from organisations buying huge, ‘one-size-fits-all’ learning content libraries for their L&D needs. Instead, we’ll see a shift to buying specific content that closely matches current development requirements, and utilising in-house content, whether it was initially designed for learning or not, in an agile approach.
Strategies for success in 2023
From a strategic point of view, learning leaders are going to have to stay nimble. It may be tempting to focus on the needs of the existing workforce but that would be a mistake because the workforce is likely to change during 2023. Some organisations will downsize in the face of recession; others will upsize in an attempt to survive and/or increase market share.
Add the usual staff churn into that mix, and it’s clear that the employees present at the end of 2023 will not all be the same ones who started the year. HR flexibility is going to be key here, supported by learning leaders who can be nimble in the face of continuous change.
What does all this mean for 2023?
As Markus Bernhardt, Chief Evangelist at OBRIZUM says:
“Learning leaders agree that we are seeing a strong and ever-growing trend right now. Organisational learning and development is shifting towards highly targeted and agile performance improvement and intervention, a result of strong performance analyses and the identification of specific performance gaps that need to be closed. Centre-stage will be measurable outcomes and the resulting impact on business performance. For this to happen, a shift away from huge, underused content libraries and experience platforms towards more agile tools will be paramount.”
“The best learning leaders will help their organisations to navigate the coming economic storm and emerge stronger at the end of 2023.”
OBRIZUM is the AI learning technology & data analytics company for enterprise businesses.
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